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Putting Behavioral Health to Bed

A new behavioral health hospital will by ready in the fall of 2018

An architectural rendering of the new behavioral health hospital, to open in 2018.
  • An architectural rendering of the new behavioral health hospital, to open in 2018.

If a changing skyline signifies a thriving city, then count Spokane as flourishing.

One of its most unheralded — yet greatly needed — projects is rising quickly at the corner of Fifth and Browne, beneath Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center's main campus. That is the site of Providence Health Care and UHS/Fairfax Behavioral Health's new behavioral health hospital serving Eastern Washington.

Ground was broken in May 2017, and the hospital will be ready for patients in the fall of 2018.

A shot in the arm is what behavioral health care in Spokane and Eastern Washington needs. While behavioral health concerns appear on the rise, the need for care is nothing new; rather, it's the lack of resources that have kept people from getting that care.

"There's a lack of access to behavioral health services in Spokane, so many individuals are not able to get the care they need," says Providence Health and Services External Communications Director Liz DeRuyter. Currently, Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital currently have the only beds in Eastern Washington for acute inpatient hospitalization, but the new hospital confirms the need for more resources.

"We are not 'seeing' more patients, because we are at capacity all the time," says DeRuyter. Full capacity at both Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital results in shortages in both outpatient and inpatient services. "Individuals needing acute hospital inpatient services have to wait longer to be admitted."

The new behavioral health hospital will help improve access to acute inpatient hospital care, but won't solve the problem. A national shortage of providers treating behavioral health issues, as well as inadequate community outpatient and transitional services, are part of the mix.

While facilities such as Eastern State Hospital provide care to patients who require long-term therapy, short-term inpatient hospital care for behavioral health patients is the care needed for patients with acute behavioral health issues, usually consisting of stabilization with an average length of stay less than 10 days.

When the construction is complete, there will be double the inpatient beds available, and a new source of hope for those in need.


BY THE NUMBERS

72 acute inpatient beds currently

144 acute inpatient beds in fall of 2018

180 The number of first- and second-year medical school students enrolled at the University of Washington School of Medicine at Gonzaga University and Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane in the fall of 2017.